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Caring for a loved one can be a rollercoaster of emotions - and is often fulfilling and challenging in equal measure.
When providing unpaid or informal care to someone else, your work life can take a back seat. If your caregiving role is taking over, financial support is available to help you.
As a carer for a family member, there are several state benefits that you may be entitled to. In many cases, these work in a similar way to care home benefits. Read on to learn what each of these benefits is, how they work and how much they pay.
We also have an article dedicated to discounts for carers.
Use our directory to find a care home near you.
Carer’s Allowance is the most widely used and spoken about carer benefit. If you’re eligible, then you’ll get £76.76 a week for 2023/24. This also works out as £333 a month and £3,991 a year. With Carer’s Allowance, you can choose to be paid weekly in advance or every four weeks.
If you earn more than £132 in any given week then it’s important to tell the Department for Work and Pensions. If you don’t, you’ll be asked to pay back the amount you were overpaid. If earnings vary from week to week then you should also let the Department for Work and Pensions know. This way, they can average out your earnings so you stay under the limit.
You can apply for Carer’s Allowance here.
Be aware that Carer’s Allowance can also affect other benefits that you may already be getting - so you might be paid less elsewhere.
Carer’s Allowance can also affect the benefits of the person you’re caring for. For example, if your loved one is receiving Severe Disability Premium then this may stop if you claim Carer’s Allowance.
Generally speaking, you can’t get Carer’s Allowance if you’re already claiming State Pension or certain means-tested benefits, such as New Style Employment and Support Allowance.
You should still make a claim even if you won’t get the benefit - as you may be entitled to top-up income on any other benefits you receive. This is known as having an ‘underlying entitlement’ to Carer’s Allowance.
Once you’re aware of a change that might affect how much Carer’s Allowance you receive, let the Department for Work and Pensions know as soon as possible.
If you tell them too late then an increase in payment amount could result in you missing out on extra money.
You should let the Department for Work and Pensions know if you think a change might reduce your payment - you won’t save any money by reporting this further down the road. If you tell them too late, you could be paid too much and have to pay your benefits back - this is known as an overpayment.
Carer’s Credit is a National Insurance credit that fills up gaps in your National Insurance record.
This will allow you to take on caring responsibilities, without affecting your ability to qualify for the State Pension.
If the person you care for doesn’t receive any of these benefits then you may still be able to claim by completing a ‘Care Certificate’.
To apply, download the Carer’s Credit claim form.
To be eligible for a Carer Premium, you must spend at least 35 hours a week caring for someone else.
The Carer Premium is received on top of other benefits and amounts to £42.75 a week. If you’re on Universal Credit then this premium is paid monthly at £185.86.
Ask about the Carer Premium at your local Jobcentre Plus or Jobs and Benefits Office. With that being said, if you qualify then this payment will usually be added automatically.
To claim this, you need to be the parent of the child or look after them as if you’re their parent. It is usually paid every four weeks.
|Care Component||Weekly Rate|
|Mobility Component||Weekly Rate|
So depending on how much help the child needs, the Disability Living Allowance rate can be anywhere between £26.90 and £172.75 (the two higher rates added together).
You can apply by printing off and filling in the DLA claim form, or by phoning the Disability Living Allowance helpline at 0800 121 4600 and asking for a printed form.
If your child lives in Scotland then you should instead apply for Child Disability Payment. If your child moves from Scotland to England or Wales then you need to make a new Disability Living Allowance claim. Child Disability Payment will stop 13 weeks after your child moves - so be sure to apply as soon as possible.
If you have an unexpected and urgent financial need while you’re receiving certain benefits or are on a very low income, you might be able to get help in the form of local welfare assistance.
Find your local council to see what help they can provide.
Learn more about the Scottish Welfare Fund on the mygov.scot website.
Learn more about the Discretionary Assistance Fund on the Welsh Government website.
Learn more about the Social Fund on the nidirect website.
Universal Credit is a payment to help with living costs. This benefit is paid monthly - or twice a month for some people in Scotland.
You may be eligible if you’re on low income, out of work or unable to work.
Here are the Universal Credit rates for 2023.
|How Much You'll Get||Monthly Standard Allowance|
|If you're single and under 25||£292.11|
|If you're single and 25 or over||£368.74|
|If you live with a partner and you're both under 25||£458.51 (for both of you)|
|If you live with a partner and either of you are 25 or over||£578.82 (for both of you)|
Universal Credit is replacing the following benefits:
A change in circumstances includes events like starting a new job, having a child or no longer being a carer.
Contact the free and confidential Citizens Advice Help to Claim service before making a claim if you want to learn more about how your taxable income will be affected.
If you’re renting as a carer then you might be able to get help with housing costs through the Housing Costs element of Universal Credit (or Housing Benefit if you’re over the State Pension age).
If you’re a homeowner then you can get help with mortgage interest payments through Support for Mortgage Interest. This is offered as a repayable loan.
You can claim this benefit once you’ve reached the State Pension age. This is designed to top up your retirement and is separate from the State Pension.
If you live with a partner, you’ll only be able to claim Pension Credit if you’ve both reached State Pension age. We also have a guide explaining how much Pension Credit is a week.
There are several schemes and entitlements aimed at making your life as a carer that little bit easier. Here are a handful of the most popular schemes in the UK.
If you’re caring for a loved one with limited mobility then they may be able to get support through the Motability scheme. This can help by providing a car, wheelchair or powered scooter.
If the person you care for is eligible then you get assistance with picking the right vehicle. The scheme will then take payments straight from your allowance provider.
To apply, all you or your loved one will need to do is contact your local Motability Scheme dealer and make an appointment.
Blue Badge parking permits allow drivers who have passengers with mobility issues to park in more convenient locations, such as disabled parking bays. You’ll also be able to park on single or double lines for up to three hours.
A Blue Badge costs up to £10 in England and £20 in Scotland, while it’s free in Wales. This badge will usually last for up to three years.
A Disabled Persons Railcard entitles the cardholder and a carer or companion 1/3 off the majority of National Rail adult rail fares.
Having a Disabled Persons Railcard will save an average of £91 per year, or £4.26 per journey.
For example, a train journey from Edinburgh to London would cost around £54, rather than the standard £82.
This railcard costs £20 for one year or £54 for three years and can be bought at any staffed ticket office.
Alternatively, you can apply for a disabled persons railcard online.
This card entitles you to a free ticket when you take the person you’re caring for to the cinema. This card is accepted by all national cinema chains and can be easily applied for online - all you need is proof of eligibility and a photo.
Another benefit of this card is that it allows cinemas to better look after disabled guests. By making them aware of your loved one’s disability, they’ll be able to make any necessary adjustments.
The card costs just £6.00 a year.
Aside from these benefits, there are plenty of other free or discounted entry offers available to carers at various places like museums, leisure centres and National Trust sites up and down the country.
These aren’t always advertised, so it’s often worth asking before buying any tickets.
Quite a lot of local authorities also offer shopping, leisure and other discounts to carers. Contact your local council or authority to see what extra support they offer.
Claiming carer benefits is an often-complicated process, which is why it’s important to make sure you fully understand what you’re entitled to.
Searching for a care home can be a stressful and often time-consuming experience.
Thankfully, Lottie removes much of the difficulty from this process by connecting elderly people to care experts with years of expertise who can find them one of the UK’s very best care homes. We’ll match your loved one to a home which is perfectly suited to their individual needs.
Written by our team of experts and designed to help families fund later life care in England.